What is dyslexia?

“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.”
Marilyn Jager Adams

What is Dyslexia?

The word dyslexia comes from the Greek language and means the impairment of the ability to read. Individuals with dyslexia can learn but in a different way. Often these individuals, who are talented and have productive minds, are said to have a “language learning difference.” According to the International Dyslexia Association and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health, the definition of dyslexia is as follows:

“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin.
It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition
and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically
result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often
unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of
effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in
reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of
vocabulary and background knowledge.”*

* Lyon, G.R., Shaywitz, S.E., & Shaywitz, B.A. (2003). A definition of dyslexia.
Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 1-14.

If a child is undiagnosed and goes without special instruction, dyslexia can lead to low self-esteem, frustration, and school failure. Dyslexia is not a result of lack of motivation, sensory impairment, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities, or other limiting conditions. Although dyslexia runs in families, individuals with dyslexia respond successfully to timely and appropriate intervention.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has declared that the lack of ability to read is a public health issue.

According to Dr. Reid Lyon of the NIH, only 10% of US teachers receive appropriate training to teach reading to students at risk for reading failure.